I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Kazuhito Murata -- Ippon no Ongaku (一本の音楽)

Can you feel that warm breeze in your hair? It’s the humid climate of tropical islands calling you. Man, what a perfect beach song. If “Ippon no Ongaku” (一本の音楽) reminds you of Tatsuro Yamashita (山下達郎), you’re definitely correct, since Mr. Summer himself arranged it. His familiar AOR sound, combined with Beach Boys-esque chorus harmony in the refrain and Kazuhito Murata’s (村田和人) soaring powerful vocals probably sent the listeners into a frenzy of packing their bags and booking an instant flight to someplace hot. It definitely brings the much-needed warmth to my chilly room. Thanks to Yamashita’s bold guitar riff, it also works as a perfect soundtrack for a speedy drive down a clear highway, preferably in a convertible.

In 1978, Yamashita launched the career of then 24-year old Murata after the promising singer-songwriter submitted his demo tape to RCA Records. He started off as a backing singer for Yamashita and in 1982 debuted as a soloist. Like his mentor, Murata has also been influenced by popular American music of the 60’s, though a number of his other songs also showcase his rock roots since he's been a fan on Cream and Led Zeppelin since junior high school. I can hear that side of him through the vocals in some parts of “Ippon no Ongaku”, particularly the bridge leading up to the refrain, though the song itself is largely a pop piece. As for the rest of the credits, it was written by Yoshihiko Ando (安藤芳彦) and composed by Murata.

“Ippon no Ongaku” is the song Murata is best known for since it always pops up whenever I look up his name. It became a minor hit in March 1983 when it was used as a CM tune for Hitachi Maxell. It was included in his second studio album from June that year, Hitokakera no Natsu (ひとかけらの夏). I don’t have the sales data for the single, but the album peaked at No.25 on Oricon weeklies. I first came across that one through the pages of Japanese City Pop, where Yutaka Kimura writes that he’s a big fan of it like numerous other followers of the genre.

Speaking of City Pop, the above-mentioned book highlights a number of Murata’s albums through the “Featured Artists” section. So far, he’s been the only artist from that chapter without a profile on KKPlus, so I took care of that matter with this entry.


1 comment:

  1. Hi, nikala.

    After hearing about snow just north and west of us today, I think we could all use a Murata entry...much obliged for putting the first one up. :)

    Yep, the song has got Yamashita's fingerprints all over it, right down to the backing vocals and Murata's soaring voice at the end. It's about as sunny as a song can get and one can indeed feel like racing down to Miami on its energy.


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